Safer Lakes.

Please help protect our communities, observe social distancing and stay safe.

Check car parks and toilets across the Lake District National Park

See for latest coronavirus rules across the National Park and our services.

#LoveYourLakes: Donate to the Lake District Foundation's crowdfunding campaign to help care for the Lake District after the impacts of a busy summer.

Paddling a Canadian canoe on Coniston Water copyright Dave Willis

Water and boating in the Lake District

The Lake District has more than sixteen lakes and numerous tarns plus a stretch of coastline. So there's plenty of opportunity to go rowing, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing or simply splash about on the shore.

Boat hire

The following four lakes all have watersport centres, and places where you can hire boats, including rowing boats and electric boats:

Wheel of a steamer © Dave Willis

Coniston Boating Centre Attractions

Have a great family day out at Coniston. Pre-book motor boats, canoes, bikes and more!

Things to do in Coniston

Steamers and boat cruises

Taking a cruise is a great way to experience the beautiful Lake District views. Combining a one-way cruise with a bus, walk or cycle can be a great way to travel around a lake in a day.

These lakes have passenger boats with multiple stops:


Windermere Lake Cruises - stops at Lakeside, Ferry House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere Jetty, Bark Barn Pier, Wray Castle, Brockhole on Windermere and Ambleside.

Windermere lake guide shows piers, jetties and towns around the lake

Cross Lakes Experience%

Cross Lakes Experience

Update: Closed for the 2020 season

Combine boat and coach ticket to travel from Bowness-on-Windermere across lake Windermere to Hill Top and Hawkshead. With cycle and walking routes to complete a full day exploring!

View routes and timetable


Ullswater Steamers - stops at Glenridding, Aira Force, Howtown and Pooley Bridge.

Ullswater lake guide shows all piers, jetties and boat routes


National Trust Gondoloa - stops at Coniston Boating Centre, Brantwood and Lake Bank Jetty.

Coniston Launch - stops at Coniston Boating Centre, Waterhead, Brantwood, Sunny Bank, Lake Bank Jetty.

Coniston Water lake guide shows all piers, jetties and boat routes


Keswick Launch - stops at Keswick, Ashness Gate, Lodore, High Brandelhow, Low Brandelhow, Hawes End, Lingholm and Nichol End.

Derwentwater lake guide shows all piers and jetties

Swimming and staying safe on the water

  • Splashing about in the lakes and tarns is a lovely way to cool off on a warm day. Take a look at our guide to where to swim and how to stay safe while enjoying the water.
  • During the warmer weather, blue green algae may occur on some waters. While this occurs naturally, it can be toxic and lethal to animals. Our guide to blue green algae explains what to look out for and how to report a sighting.
  • Heading out on a boat is the perfect way to explore the larger lakes, but before heading out, make sure you know the basics in water safety. Our lake rangers share their top tips in these short water safety videos.

Maps of Lakes for water users:

The coast

The National Park includes 26 miles of coastline and estuaries. The coast, from Seascale to Millom, is quite different to the rest of the National Park.

Here you can enjoy dramatic views across open sea and into the high fells. Where the rivers of the western Lake District meet the sea there are dunes and estuaries rich with sea life and the birds which feed on it. There are lots of places where you can launch anything from a windsurfer to a small boat.

Find out more in our The Coast of the Lake District National Park leaflet (PDF)

Help native wildlife

Invasive non-native species of wildlife can hitchhike on equipment, footwear, clothing and boats. You may inadvertently spread the aliens even if you just go for a paddle! Every time you leave any water such as a river, tarn or lake:

Check - Clean - Dry

Stop the spread of invasive aquatic species logo

  • Check your equipment and clothing for living organisms. Pay particular attention to damp or hard to inspect areas.
  • Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly. If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them or on a hard surface to die out.
  • Dry all equipment and clothing. Some species can live for many days in damp conditions.

Find out more at Biosecurity - South Cumbria Rivers Trust

Need holiday accommodation?

Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

Booking here, supports here

We've cosy holiday cottages, quirky boutique hotels, friendly bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels.

Our commission helps keep the National Park special: Browse and book Lake District accommodation online